BLK w/BEAR – The Final Mapping of New Constellations (Little Crackd Rabbit Records)

‘The Final Mapping of New Constellations’ by BLK w/BEAR was grown from a request to make a version of ‘The Stars Look Down’ by Lost Harbour. Rather than limit their output to one track, the band have made an album-length radical interpretation of the source material; in the process creating something quietly amazing, in this debut release for Little Crackd Rabbit.

Working with prepared vinyl and looped manipulated cello and bass guitar, BLK w/BEAR have conjured a sound choked with age and a sense of awe-struck frightened wonder. Opening with the celestial hum and struck piano of ‘Pang Pang’, a threatened rave epiphany shifts into dopplered drift and cold space; almost synonymous of the album as a whole: a void of bliss, comfort found in echoing isolation rather than social communion. The whole album continues much like this; the noise is close and attention-capturing: the scraping dissonance of distressed metal, droning strings, the rumble of irradiated electronic fire, sparse rattles of percussion, rusted pulsing wheezes, pysch-blurs of scorched guitars. The pace is often funereal; a lost and weary trudge across sodden fields, boots heavy and mud-caked. ‘Realif’ makes a gesture in the direction of melody in its final moments which drifts away unresolved. ‘Grand Order of the Eastern Star’ is one of the highlights; a scraped roar, wind-honed and elemental, like a coarse gale sweeping down a scree-rubbled valley, abandoned huts trumpeting the gusts through empty doors and windows.

This is music to be foraged through and sifted, sense-impressions escaping your fingers like sand. A disquieting triumph, the album unsettles with a mysterious broken grace; a forbidding and confrontational beauty; subtle in execution but quite profound in affect. The constellations it maps seem dangerous, a star-soaked sky where you slowly realise the pricks of light are countless eyes, regarding you unblinkingly.

Label info here.

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